Every year we do at least one massive season preview for the series on Celtics Blog. This year was a little different because the lockout, so we did three previews, I think.
Post-lockout I wrote an article titled 'An Optimistic Preview of the Philadelphia 76ers 2011-12 Season'. The very same day, Mike wrote a counter in his 'A Pessimistic Preview of the Philadelphia 76ers 2011-12 Season'.
With a few games remaining, it appears the Sixers will fall closer to Mike's prediction than mine. He never came out with an actual record prediction, but nailed it with "There's no question the Sixers will be hovering just over .500 the next two years."
I predicted 38 wins and an appearance in the second round of the Playoffs, which looked a heck of a lot better when the Sixers were 20-9.
Make the jump for a few excerpts from Mike and I's previews.
Where we were right:
To answer the original question, yes the Sixers will make the playoffs this season.
Andre Iguodala will not be traded because the Sixers will be playing well, attracting more fans than they have in nearly a decade and in the midst of a playoff race.
Without a superstar, mediocrity and failure are as imminent as a Louis Williams isolation.
Asserting dominance at crucial points in the game and the season comes from having a guy that teams can't stop. The Sixers do not have that guy.
... the team hasn't and won't exponentially improve to the point of actually contending with the top-tier teams in the Eastern Conference. If the Sixers are committed to winning games, sure, this is going to be a fine season for winning a few. But if they're committed to winning a championship, this is not the right path.
... it's significantly more distressing to think that the Sixers' goal is not to win a championship. This isn't Little League, this is a business. And while the 2011-12 Sixers figure to be an exciting, relatively young team to watch, that nagging consciousness in the back of your head will linger for years to come.
Where we were wrong:
This is year two under Coach Collins and the young backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner looked poised for a breakout in their third and second seasons, respectively.
... I'm going bold with this proclamation, but the Philadelphia 76ers will indeed win an Eastern Conference Playoff series this season. I reserve the right to revoke this statement if they play the Heat in the first round again, but every other Eastern Conference team they have a shot of beating in a series. They will remain considerable underdogs against the Celtics and Bulls, but the Sixers will come out strong and finish with a good enough record for the fourth or fifth seed.
Remains to be seen:
Trading Iguodala this season in an effort to take one step back in order to take 10 steps forward in the next few years would absolutely ruin the possibility of winning a playoff series, but at the end of the day, future title contention > 2011-12 playoff series win.
The best move for the future of the franchise would be to amnesty Brand, trade Iguodala for expiring contracts and a lottery pick and let Jrue and Evan run the team, hopefully acquiring a young and able big man in the process. But this would upset the trajectory of the post-Iverson era mediocrity and lose all twelve fans the Sixers have gained since their playoff cup of coffee last season.
If you guys are interested in your very own predictions, here's our reader prediction contest. It looks like no one predicted lower than 34 wins, but there were a lot of 34-36s. It'll be close.